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Tag Archives: Gatlinburg Tennessee

Time Travel Smoky Mountain Style

Take a step back in time as you visit some of the areas I will mention here in the article.   It is a great way to experience the Smokies and learn of it’s diverse history, including the people that once lived  worked and vacationed in the area. History abounds here and you are sure to lose yourself daydreaming of an era long gone but not forgotten.

THE WONDERLAND HOTEL once a vibrant tourist attraction which first opened for business in 1912.  The two story structure had 26 guest rooms, carefully designed so that no two were alike, and each sported a private bath a luxury for that day and time.  The area became The Great Smoky National Park in 1934. The hotel remained opened until 1992 among many changes within the park and life itself.  Unfortunately in1995 fire took some of the structure, in 2006 the rest collapsed.  The park collected some items (boards/windows) and the buildings around the hotel were slated for restoration.  Sadly on April 19th, 2016 a fire also took out the annex.  Today what is left of the hotel along with the entire Elkmont District is listed as one of 11 most endangered places by the national Trust for Historic Preservation. The following was taken in Elkmont District.

elkmont

CEMETARIES IN THE GREAT SMOKY MT NATIONAL PARK   A total of more than 151 known cemetaries exist in the national park some date to the 1800’s. 20 cemetaries around Fontana Lake became inaccessible by land with the building of the dam, still accessible by ferry.  A cemetary also exists in the center of Gatlinburg. For more on White Oak Flats Cemetary check out our earlier blog article Hidden in the Heart of Gatlinburg.

HISTORIC BUILDINGS  The Great Smoky National Park has over 90 historic structures, houses, barns, schools, churches, outbuildings and grist mills.  Check out the map and put a few on your list to see when you visit.

grist mill

CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS CAMP Created during the depression to provide work and wages for young unemployed men many of the trails, bridges, campgrounds and buildings still stand today as a testament to their work.  For a brief history on how the park was created and the part the CCC played in helping to build it click here

There are lots of fun things to do and see in the area, I hope you will choose at least one thing off this list and take a few moments to reflect on the history of the area, the people who lived here and the great privilege we have of enjoying such a diverse, historic and beautiful area.

 

 

 

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Coast the Mountainsides

One of the most popular attractions in the area are the alpine coasters.  The area now has 7 in operation. The first opened in August of 2013 with the latest finished up summer of 2015.  Two of the coasters are located on Wear’s Valley Road in Pigeon Forge, one in Pigeon Forge near Dollywood  and 4 in the city of Gatlinburg.

Alpine coasters have been around since the early 1970’s and are most often designed/installed by German engineering companies.  The coasters need the right piece of land and excavation is usually the highest cost in the building process.  The terrain must accommodate twists and turns and a slope that lets gravity do all the work. And while you may be at an elevation of 2000 feet you won’t be far off the ground.  The bobsled like cars ride on a stainless steel rail. Each car can hold up to two passengers.  After passengers are strapped in the car is pulled up the track by a cable and once at the top the car is released for a white knuckle ride down the mountainside reaching speeds of up to 30 mph!  Riders are able to control their speeds using handles positioned on each side of the car.

 

coaster

 

Each track in the area sports something a little different, one claiming to be the highest, one the longest, another the fastest.  One thing we can say for sure is they all have great scenery!  Coasters do operate rain or shine and offer morning and night rides.  Like most coasters there are height and age requirements.

To get a short preview of a no brakes ride on the Smoky Mt Alpine Coaster located on Wear’s Valley Road click here.

Here are the links for the coasters currently in operation in Sevier County.

http://www.smokymountainalpinecoaster.com/

http://thecoastertn.com/

http://gatlinburgmountaincoaster.org

http://obergatlinburg.com/mountain-coaster/

https://www.anakeesta.com/rail-runner/

https://www.rowdybearmountain.com/

http://rockytopcoaster.com/

Wonder what the next hot attraction might be….hmmmmm……  Plenty of reasons to come to the area and new things are added all the time so come back often, see what’s new, enjoy the old and just plain have fun!

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2015 in Attractions, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge

 

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Good To Know Info

We can’t deny we live in a digital age where information abounds and for most of us, at least here in America, it is literally right at our fingertips thanks to smart phones/mobile devices.

Do any of you remember the days of planning ahead and having the info BEFORE you set out on vacation? Well I am a planner and I like to KNOW if not everything at least a lot of the info before I ever leave my driveway. However I am growing accustomed to this digital age and I will admit I do rely on having the information handy in my hand, readily available and accessible.   I am grateful for websites and Facebook pages that I can save as my favorites and easily access information of all types because one of the most precious commodities we have is time.  With that thought in mind I am writing this blog with the purpose of posting links to informational pages that might come in handy while you are planning your vacation or while you are staying in the Smoky Mt area.

Click on the city name to see a list of services provided, services of all types such as salons, medical, legal, pet, tours etc.

GATLINBURG                                                        PIGEON FORGE

For information relating to national park:  GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Weather informaton current and forecasted:  SEVIER COUNTY  (for Gatlinburg use zip code 37738, for Pigeon Forge 37863 in the search box top of the page)

Road Reports:     GREAT SMOKY MT NATIONAL PARK        SEVIER COUNTY

We have other articles here on the blog that are full of information too, like the one titled “FORE” which lists all the golf courses in the area.  Looking for a list of  theaters/shows in the area check out “It’s Show Time!”.  Need to know where the closest horse riding stables are then be sure to see the article “Giddy Up!”  A fan of the water then you need to read “Water, Water, Everywhere”.  Several more of our articles have info you may find interesting/helpful as well.

Vacation planning is great fun and with the use of our informative articles we hope it just got a lot easier too!  Happy planning!

 

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It’s All About Them Bears, ‘Bout Them Bears, ‘Bout Them Bears

Ursus americanus, the American black bear and one of the best known features of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. where the bears live in wild, natural surroundings.

A spectacular looking creature measuring up to 6 ft in length, and standing 3 ft tall at the shoulder. A typical male can weigh in at 250 lbs, females normally weigh in at around 100 lbs, however by fall bears can double in weight getting ready for their long periods of sleep when the cold months of winter set in.  Bears live 12-15 years however when they have access to human foods/garbage they live half that long.   Like humans bears are omnivores, their diet consisting of 85% plant material, the other 15% made up of insects and animal carrion.  Bears have a very keen sense of smell, color vision, they are good swimmers, can run 30 mph and boy can they climb!

Black bears in the Smokies don’t actually hibernate but they do den for long periods of time through the winter.  Mama bears and cubs (usually 1-4) begin emerging from their dens in late March/early April. Cubs remain with their mama for about 18 months until she mates again.  Anytime you are visiting the Smokies please be on the lookout for bears (and other wildlife) which may be in or crossing the road. Pictured here mama and 3 cubs on Roaring Fork Motor Trail.

bears

Most all the travelers that stay at one of our cabins would love to see a bear, many get that opportunity without ever leaving the cabin!  We can’t guarantee a bear siting however we will guarantee that when you do see one you will be in absolute awe of them. One of the best wildlife viewing areas in the Smokies is Cades Cove in Townsend, TN  If you are a wildlife lover you most certainly will want to make a trip here.

The national park website has great do’s and don’ts when it comes to viewing/encountering wildlife.  If you plan to be in the park I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with park regulations regarding the wildlife as well as reading the article on their site devoted to keeping you and the wildlife safe.

The prospect of seeing a black bear in it’s wild, natural surroundings is just another great reason to come to the Smoky Mountains!  When you do we hope you will stay in one of our cabins, enjoy the view and just maybe you will be one of the fortunate ones that sees that spectacular creature known as ursus americanus!

 
 

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Behold the Bugler

Fall is quickly approaching in the Great Smoky Mt National Park and that means lots of wonderful things!  One of the first things that comes to mind is the changing of the leaves which brings out brilliant colors and paints the land in rich hues of yellows, golds, oranges and reds.  Another thing that comes with fall is the mating season of the elk, also known as the rut (September into early Oct).

The elk were reintroduced in 2001-2002 after a 200 year absence in the Smokies.  They are spectacular creatures to behold.  The best places to do so in the park are in the Cataloochee Valley or near the Oconoluftee Visitor Center.  The best times for viewing are early morning or early evening just before sunset.  Fields may be closed during the rut to minimize conflicts between elk and humans.

elk

During the rut the adult male elk (bulls) use a combination of bugling and aggressive behavior in an attempt to dominant over other males.  They use their huge antlers to spar with other males in a show of strength.  The bugling is a very distinct sound beginning as a deep resonant then increases to a high pitched squeal and ends in a succession of grunts.  These bugles can be heard a mile or more away!

To view a video of the elk click here

Seasons of the elk:  Spring (March) the male shed their antlers which are calcium rich and quickly eaten by other rodents and other animals.  It is illegal to remove the antlers from the park so look don’t touch!

Summer is birthing time with most calves being born in June.  The majestic creatures like to roll and wallow in the mud to cover themselves as a deterant to pesty insects.  By August the antlers are full grown and have lost their “velvet”.

Fall is the rut as discussed above and the display of aggresive, dominant behaviour and bugling begins.

Winter, the elk wear a two layer coat in colder months with the longer hairs repelling water and the fuzzy undercoat keeps them warm.

It really is quite a treat to view the elk in their natural habitat.  Be sure to follow all park rules regarding wildlife viewing for your saftey and that of the animals.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Great Smoky Mt National Park

 

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It’s Show Time!

Lots of great shows to see while you are visiting.  Look over the list below and see which one(s) are a must see for you.

American Oldies Show

129 Showplace Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-453-2003

www.americanoldiestheater.com

 American’s Hit Parade

2330 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-774-7777

http://www.thegrandmajestic.com/americashitparade.html

Biblical Times (Dinner Show)

2391 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-908-3327

www.biblicaltimestheater.com

Cinema Types

Southeast Cinemas

www.southeastcinemas.com/location/42601/Governors-Crossing-14-Showtimes

The Forge Cinemas

http://www.theforgecinemas.com/

Ripleys 5D Moving Theater

http://www.ripleys.com/gatlinburg/moving-theater/

Comedy Barn, The

2775 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-428-5222 or 800-29-LAUGH

www.comedybarn.com

Country Tonight

129 Showplace Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-453-2003

http://countrytonitepf.com/

 Dixie Stampede (Dinner Show)

3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-453-4400

www.dixiestampede.com

Grand Majestic (Dinner Show)

2330 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-774-7777

www.thegrandmajestic.com

 Great Smoky Mt Murder Mystery Show (Dinner Show)

2682 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN

866-624-7185

Murder-mystery-theater.com

Hatfield and McCoy (Dinner Show)

119 Music Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-908-7469 or 800-985-5494

www.hatfieldmccoydinnerfeud.com

Hazzard County Hoedown (Dinner Show)

2330 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-774-7777

http://www.thegrandmajestic.com/hazzardcounty.html

I.R.I.S Theater (inside the Space Needle)

115 Historic Nature Trail. Gatlinburg, TN

check out the link for current shows

865-436-4629

http://www.iristheater.com/

Magic Beyond Belief

2046 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

800-768-1170

http://www.pigeonforgemagic.com/

 Lumberjack Adventure (Dinner Show)

2713 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

844-322-4400

lumberjackadventure.com

 Memories Theatre

2141 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

800-325-3078

www.memoriestheatre.com

Patsy Cline Theater (Tribute Theater)

175 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN

877-494-3183

(no website listed)

Smith Morning Variety Show

2046 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

800-768-1170

http://www.smokymtnopry.com/shows/smith-morning-variety-show

  Smoky Mt Opry

2046 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

800-768-1170

www.smokymtnopry.com

Starlite Theater

140 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-368-3636

http://www.thestarlitetheater.com/

Smith Morning Variety Show

2046 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

800-768-1170

http://www.smokymtnopry.com/shows/smith-morning-variety-show

Soul of Motown

2330 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-428-0008 or 865-774-7777

www.thegrandmajestic.com

Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre

461 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN

877-388-5784 or 865-436-4039

sweetfannyadams.com

Unto These Hills (Outdoor drama, summer season only)

688 Drama Road, Cherokee, NC

866-554-4557

www.cherokeesmokies.com/unto_these_hills.html

Wonders of Magic

100 Music Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN

865-868-1800

www.wonderworksonline.com

 

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in Attractions

 

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FORE!

The Smokies is full of picturesque settings and the golf courses in the area are no exception.  The rolling hills and mountainous terrain make for some interesting, one-of-a-kind designed holes.  if you are an avid golfer we know that golfing isn’t just a sport for you but a way of life!  So get out there, enjoy the mountain air as you play a round or two on one of more of the courses in the area.

Here is a list of the courses in the area where you will find emerald green fairways, beautiful Smoky Mountain wooded landscapes and well manicured greens. The courses I have chosen to list are those inside or within close proximity to both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Gatlinburg Golf Course (Municipal)
520 Dollywood Lane
Pigeon Forge, TN
(800)231-4128
www.golf.gatlinburg.com

Bent Creek Golf Course (Public)
3919 East Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN
(800)251-9336
www.bentcreekgolf.com

Sevierville County Golf Club (Municipal)
1444 Old Knoxville Hwy
Sevierville, TN
(865)429-4223
(888)710-1388
www.seviervillegolfclub.com

Creekside Plantation Golf Course (9 hole) (Public)
326 N Shiloh Rd
Seymour, TN 37865-5215
(865) 577-4653

http://creeksideplantationgolf.com/

River Island Golf Club (Public)
9610 Kodak Rd SE
Kodak, TN 37764-1048
(865) 933-0100
www.riverislandsgolf.com

Bays Mountain Golf Course (Public)
685 Chris Haven Dr
Seymour, TN 37865-3213
(865) 577-8172

www.golfnow.com/courses/1036597-bays-mountain-golf-course-details

Laurel Valley Golf Course (Public)
702 Country Club Dr
Townsend, TN 37882
(865) 448-6690
www.laurelvalleytngolf.com

Dandridge Golf and Country Club (Public)
1247 Stonewall Jackson Dr
Dandridge, TN 37725-4315
(800) 997-2655
www.dandridgegolf.com

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge

 

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Water, Water Everywhere!

What do you think of when you hear Smoky Mountain National Park, well for one thing you probably think of mountain scenery, hiking, and wildlife viewing and those are all great things to not only think about but do.  Another great resource in and around the area is water and all it offers.

Many of the most popular hikes in the park include a waterfall along the way.  Many of the roads in the park follow the river and there are some beautiful picnic spots along the rivers edge. Another great spot to view the strong rushing water is The Sinks a spot on the Little Pigeon River approximately 12 miles from  Sugarlands Visitor Center.  The views here are of cascades and the currents are very strong. There is a pull off here with a few parking spaces but if the area is full you can still get a good view by driving slowly as you cross over the bridge.

For those looking for swimming holes there are several of those in the park too. Here’s a list:

  • Little River – Townsend, TN. …
  • Deep Creek – Bryson City, NC. …
  • Green Brier – Gatlinburg, TN. …
  • Cherokee Rapids – Cherokee, NC. …
  • Little Pigeon River Banks – Sevierville, TN. …
  • Midnight Hole – NC/TN. …
  • Abrams Falls – Cades Cove, TN. …
  • Metcalf Bottoms – Gatlinburg, TN.

Another great form of recreation on the river is fishing and can be done year round in the park.  Licenses are required and some streams may be off limits so be sure to check with the park system for all rules/regulations regarding fishing in the park.

Not an angler, no worries how about floating away the day on a tube.  Several companies in the area for tube rentals.  Another way to float/ride the river white water rafting of course, check out the different package deals and different trips some include the fast rapids others a more leisurely float down the river.

lake

If you want to spend the day on a lovely lake it is only a short drive from Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge to Dandridge TN and beautiful Douglas Lake.  There you can rent boats of all types, jet skis, sea doos, and waverunners too.  Take a look at our other article Boat Loads of Fun for more area rental companies.

Looking for a great water park, try Dollywood’s Splash Country with 35 acres of waterslides, attractions, pools and play areas.

Another way to cool off, take a wet roll down the hill at The Outdoor Gravity Park in Pigeon Forge.

So rather you desire to get in the water, on the water or just have a great view of the water you will find it all right here in the Smoky Mountains!

Water anyone?

 

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Gobble Up The Sights of Spring

It’s courtship time for the Toms from March to May. So with the coming of spring comes the strutting and gobbling of male turkeys.  It is said the gobbles of Toms can be heard up to a mile away. Often the Toms will display right in the roadway and have no interest in anything but strutting their stuff for the ladies.  Please use caution when driving the roads, be on the lookout for all wildlife and prepare to give them the right away.  Be especially careful on blind curves and be aware other visitors may be stopped for wildlife who will often be found either in the roadway or very close to the edges.

turkey

 
 

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Winter Living in the 1800’s

We sure have it made compared to the mountain folk of the mid-19th century.  I can’t imagine living in the small cabins they called home, especially in chilly winter temps with the wind whistling through all the cracks and down the chimney!  The typical cabin was 18 X 20 (360 sq ft), frequently with a sleeping loft.  The cabins may have been small but the families normally large.  Usually the log home would house multiple generations including grandparents and 5 -12 kids!

Life was simple yet hard.  They lived off the land and in winter while fresh produce was sparce if crops had been good and livstock prolific they had plenty to eat.  They would dry, salt, pickle, and sulphur things to make sure the family would eat well.  Some items their diets may have included are:  chicken, corn bread, pickled vegetables, dry green beans, squirrel, sorghum molasses, potatoes and salt pork, sulphured apples.

Winter was the time when most children attended school since they were not needed to work the farm.  The school year lasted only 2-4 months of the year and cost about $1 per student per month for the family to have their children educated.  Typically a child only went to school for a 3-5 year period enough to learn basic reading, writing and math skills.  Two country schools are preserved in the national park. Little Greenbrier School is accessible in winter by the 0.7 mile Metcalf Bottoms Trail which begins at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. Beech Grove School is beside the road in Cataloochee Valley.

To pass the time indoors during the wintery weather the mountain folk would play music and sing songs.  Ballads were written about life events, tragedies, and local places.

The woman sewed quilts made from leftover scraps of cloth, worn out clothing and scraps of sack cloth.

I like to imagine what it would have been like for those hardy people to farm the land enjoy the fruit of it and the beauty too but I will admit I like to do so in the comfort of my climate controlled home in my very comfortable easy chair with a stocked refrigerator not far away!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Area History

 

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